The bad news first.
A recent article appearing in Health-E confirmed that many children were being admitted to hospital as a result of severe malnutrition due to an inadequate diet which did not support the accelerated growth of babies and children under the age of five years old.
The findings showed that many children were taken off breastmilk too early or that their milk formulas were being diluted with water or replaced with rooibos tea! The important thing to note here is that rooibos tea, although a healthy drink, does not contain proteins, fats, calcium and carbohydrates that will support the demands of a growing child’s body and therefore should not be given to babies as a replacement for breastmilk or milk formula.
The great news.
The good news is that rooibos tea is without a doubt perfectly safe to give to babies, even newborn babies. However, when introducing rooibos tea to newborn babies, it is important to introduce it in the smallest quantities and between milk feeds for the first six months of his/her life. Our recommendation is to increase the quantities of rooibos tea gradually, at least after 6 months of age. Also important is to offer babies natural rooibos tea, this means no honey, sugar or milk. From 6 months of age and onwards you could flavour the rooibos tea by adding small quantities of 100% fruit juice to sweeten it, but if you continue to give your baby rooibos tea without the added sugar, this is what they will be used to and what would be best.
The benefits of rooibos tea for babies?
Rooibos tea is a naturally sweet and fruity herbal tea that is caffeine-free, calorie-free, low in tannins and rich in antioxidants. Rooibos has long been used to soothe colic and digestive discomfort, relieve teething gums and promote better and healthier sleep. Other traditional medicinal uses of rooibos include alleviation of asthma, allergies, dermatological problems and more. It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help fight against many lifestyle diseases, including the harmful free radicals that can damage cells and cause cancer.
Rooibos tea is not only suitable for babies but is recommended as a life-long healthy drink alternative.